Folk knowledge of language has not engaged linguists very often in the history of that field. Introductory texts often disparage folkbelief in contrast to 'scientific truth.' In fact, language is a ubiquitous topic of discussion and general concern of the folk. They talk about grammar, pronunciation, first and second language learning, language disabilities, dialects, gender and language, and a host of other topics.
This book approaches such beliefs as one of most important aspects of ethnography. Surely what a people believe about their language is as important as any other key to an understanding of their culture. "This fascinating book investigates how non-linguists think and talk about language, an area overlooked by linguists, as the authors show."
Joseph Salmons in Diachronica
FROM THE CONTENTS
Methodology and fieldwork
A survey of earlier studies
3. Social factors
Style, slang, register, and taboo
4. Language acquisition and applied linguistics
First language acquisition
Language and education
Second language acquisition
5. General and descriptive linguistics
6. The last words
The discourse prospect